The Life of Graham Greene, Vol. 1: 1904-1939

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9780670813766: The Life of Graham Greene, Vol. 1: 1904-1939

First Printing. Many Black and white photos.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The celebrated novelist chose his biographer because, according to Sherry, he was impressed with his studies of Joseph Conrad, and by the fact that he had journeyed to the places his subject had known. That was 14 years ago, and in the course of preparing this massive study of Greene (still very much alive at 84), Sherry trod in the novelist's wide-ranging footsteps too. He also was given access to Greene's remarkable letters, granted occasional, highly reluctant interviews by his reclusive subject, and even managed to unearth Britons who knew him at school. The portrait that results is riveting, going to the heart of Greene's darkly anguished worldview and the anxieties, guilts and demons that have driven him to create more than 30 novels, travel books and essay collections. From the start, as a pupil at a school where his father was headmaster, Greene was unhappily out of place, aware in the bullying of his schoolfellows of the omnipresence of evil. He suffered agonizingly from boredom and as an Oxford student went on harebrained cloak-and-dagger trips to Germany and Ireland in search of danger; in extremity, he played Russian roulette with a loaded revolver. Some of this has been recounted in Greene's own eliptical memoirs, A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape , but Sherry expands on them convincingly, showing what the novelist evaded or omitted. Entirely new, too, are the details of Greene's romantically obsessive courtship of Vivien, the wife for whose sake he embraced Roman Catholicism. Sherry is as good on the literary side as on the personal. Greene's books are exhaustively mined for sources--Sherry's travels yield remarkable discoveries, including the identities of some of the people who were fashioned into characters in Brighton Rock and The Power and the Glory --and judiciously evaluated. Greene's early journalism, his fascination with the movies and his years as a reviewer also make absorbing chapters. Biography on this scale, and of this quality, is rare and justifies its length. The second volume is eagerly awaited. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

"The journeys Greene made, I made," boasts Sherry. Besides tracking chronic traveler Greene, Sherry utilizes Greene's journals and correspondence as well as interviews with his friends and his estranged wife, Vivien. The picture that emerges is one of an atheist who converted to Catholicism for passion's sake, a painfully sensitive youth who transformed himself into "one of the finest novelists of his generation." This first of a projected two-volume biography concludes with the composition of Greene's masterpiece, The Power and the Glory . Few living authors have received the attention Sherry lavishes on Greene, and few have deserved it more. Essential for collections of modern literature.-- Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id. correction: Please note that the publication date of Boswell: The Great Biographer, 1789-1795, reviewed in LJ 4/1/89, has been changed. The book will be published in July or August.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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